Walk More - Sit Less

Blog Image: 
Couple walking in Park

It isn’t just trendy to be concerned about sitting for too many hours at an inactive job, there is good science to support that it is detrimental to your health. Let’s think about this - we already know that inactivity can lead to risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  Eventually this can all lead to premature death. What is more concerning is that scientists are finding that these detrimental associations negatively affect our health even when leisure time physical activity is accounted for.

It is largely believed that our sedentary lifestyle, as well as work conditions, contributes to this health concern. So what can we do about this? Almost everyone we know needs to work for a living right? The simple fix: move more and sit less!  Even small amounts of light-intensity activity, like those listed below, can help deter the deleterious health consequences of sitting too much. The really encouraging news is that scientists have also found that walking can increase energy levels by 150 percent!  Walking just 10-20 minutes at a time can improve blood sugar levels and increase your energy stores. Now that is saying something. Just like making smart choices about the foods you eat, bite by bite, choosing to be more active throughout day, minute by minute, can improve your health.

Here are some simple ideas to move more and sit less:

  • Take the bus instead of your car. If you must take your car, park as far away from the door to your office as possible.
  • Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Walk the long way to the lunch room.
  • At your desk: stand and talk on the phone or while reading materials do toe and heel raises, do chair pushups on your arm rests. Limit the time sitting at your desk, plan to get up every 2 hours – drop items in the mail, restock shelves, take the long way to the bathroom. Even short breaks of 2-3 minutes can be helpful in improving metabolic effects and insulin action.
  • Stand during meetings. Schedule meetings at your co-workers office or cube so you have to walk to get there.
  • Plan your next small meeting walking to a park, walking the halls or walking side-by-side on treadmills at the gym!
  • Play catch or tag with your kids or pets for 10 minutes before or after supper.
  • Pack a healthy lunch and take a 10 minute walk to the park to eat it at lunch time.
  • Spend 15 minutes each day cleaning a small area, or room, in your home. Even this level of increased activity helps in the big picture of managing your health.
  • Ok – this is going to sound funny, but no one will know. When you go to the bathroom – complete 20 squats before you leave the stall. Oh come on, you can do it. I do it all the time!

References:

Dunstan, D. W., Howard, B., Healy G.N., Owen, N. (2012). Too much sitting – A health hazard. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 97. Accessed 30 March 2015. http://0-ac.els-cdn.com.skyline.ucdenver.edu/S0168822712002082/1-s2.0-S0...

Is sitting the new smoking. (2015) From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidsturt/2015/01/13/is-sitting-the-new-smoking/2/. Accessed 3.27.15

Rath. (2013). Three ingredients for a good day. From: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/eat-move-sleep/201310/three-ingredients-good-day. Accessed 2.27.15

Article Author

Karen Ryan, BS, Health Promotion Specialist

Karen has her Bachelor’s degree in Wellness Coaching and Health Education from Metropolitan State University.  Karen is passionate about health and wellness and is our frontline staff to help connect our members to the most appropriate programs and resources to help them achieve their health goals.  Karen also works with children in the Pediatric Healthy Lifestyle Clinic.  Karen has been with Denver Health since 2014.